Women With Heart Disease – Detect Early – Prevent Heart Attack

Despite national campaigns to reduce cardiovascular disease mortality in women, it remains the leading cause of death in women.  The concept of heart attack seems synonymous with male health risk, and most people don’t realize that cardiovascular disease kills more women every year than it does men.  Yes, that bears repeating:  More women die from heart attack every year than men. Although some progress has been made in our understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease affecting women, the causes, extent, and demographic trends of observed gender differences and disparities remain unclear. The growing incidence of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among younger women is alarming.

Although women suffer from angina disproportionately, women show less severe obstructive disease than men.  And yet, obstructive coronary atherosclerosis, the male model of cardiovascular disease, constitutes the basis for diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for both sexes.  If the genders suffer and exhibit different symptoms, then they should be diagnosed and treated differently.

Symptoms May be Different

A big study about seven years ago analyzed almost half a million patients with heart attacks and found that one- quarter to one-third of those patients did not have chest pain or any kind of discomfort in the chest as a warning. The absence of chest pain was noted more in women than in men.  In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services published the following as other possible symptoms: upper-body discomfort (can include jaw pain or pain radiating down the arm); shortness of breath; cold sweat; unusual or unexplained tiredness; lightheadedness or dizziness; nausea.

Prevention for Women

The terrible fact is that half the women who suffer an initial heart attack will die suddenly.   Prevention is the key and by prevention we mean lifestyle–what you eat, how physically active you are, if you smoke, if you are overweight, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and how you manage stress.

Women suffer from more marital stress than men, and marital stress can create a three-fold increase in risk for a recurrent coronary event. Women drop out of cardiac rehab at the highest rates, especially younger women who have high scores on the depression and anxiety scales. Social supports are critical, as are cardiac rehab and moderate activity to counter depression.

At HeartCare, we encourage family members or close friends chosen by the patient to come to the office visit, so they can understand and provide support.

Consult Cardiologist Dr. Michael J Wong – Call (213) 483-7766

Initial Consultation

At your initial consultation we collect your comprehensive personal medical history including a detailed family history.

Lipid Profiling

We draw your blood in our office and then send it to specialized laboratories for testing. Interpreting the results, we can detect metabolic disorders that can lead to the build up of arterial plaque. Indicators we test for include:

  • Total cholesterol level
  • LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level & the different subclasses*
  • HDL (“good”)cholesterol level & the different subclasses*
  • Tryglycerides level
  • Apolipoprotein B
  • Genetic factors (lipoprotein (a) and apolipoprotein E)
  • Vascular and general inflammatory markers

*This information can direct cardioprotective dietary recommendations and medication.


Based upon your lipid profile, heart scan and other diagnostic tests, we develop a customized program of medication, diet, nutrition and exercise with you that can reduce your risk of heart disease by reversing the process of atherosclerosis. We try to minimize the amount of medication required by encouraging you to adopt a healthy lifestyle program. (We have a few patients who cannot or prefer not to take medications and we are still able to achieve progress in reducing cardiovascular risk.) In the rare event that surgery is required; it is usually planned instead of an emergency, greatly improving the chances for the best outcome.

ECP (also known as EECP) is a simple, noninvasive, outpatient treatment for angina. Read more about the ECP bed.

Follow-up Visits

We carefully monitor your compliance to lifestyle recommendations, weight control, and medications against improvements in your blood tests and imaging studies to ensure that progress is being made.